Sprinter wins historic gold medal for Singapore at Asian championship

By Hieu Luong   July 16, 2023 | 03:30 am PT
Veronica Shanti Pereira made history as the first Singapore athlete to win a gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships.
Shanti Pereira celebrates the gold medal win at the Asian Athletics Championships on July 14, 2023. Photo by AAC

Shanti Pereira celebrates the gold medal won at the Asian Athletics Championships on July 14, 2023. Photo by AAC

Pereira finished first in the women’s 100 m run in 11.20 seconds on Friday, some 0.19 seconds faster than Iran’s Farzaneh Fasihi and 0.2 seconds than China’s Ge Manqi.

The 26-year-old sprinter also broke the national record that was set by her, by 0.6 seconds.

Before Pereira, the most recent Singapore athlete that won a medal at this level was Rachel Yang with a pole-vault silver in 2007.

She is the first athlete in the history of Singaporean athletics to win the gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championships.

On the podium, Pereira cried when the national anthem of Singapore played.

"That was crazy. I didn’t know the time because when I dipped I didn’t turn to see the clock. I just waited for the announcer to say it and the moment I heard it, I was like ‘Oh my god’," she told The Strait Times.

The Singaporean sprinter didn’t celebrate for long as she had to focus on the women's 200 m on Saturday. Shanti finished in 24.33 seconds to rank 11th in the qualifying round, enough for her to advance to the semifinals.

Pereira’s breakthrough during the SEA Games 28, hosted in Singapore, winning the women’s 200 m gold medal in 23.60 seconds and the women’s 100 m bronze medal in 11.88 seconds. Since then, her performance has improved rapidly after training and competing in major international tournaments.

At SEA Games 32 in Cambodia, Pereira won a double gold medal in the 100 m event in 11.41 seconds and the 200 m run in 22.69 seconds, which is her individual record and also a SEA Games record. She is aiming for the gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games 19 hosted in China.

Southeast Asia has won three gold medals at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok. Before Pereira's gold, Robyn Lauren Brown of the Philippines won the women's 400 m hurdles gold medal in 57.50 seconds. The Thailand men's relay team, with prodigy Puripol Booson, won the gold medal in the men's 4x100 m run in 38.55 seconds, breaking the national record.

Thailand was fifth in the tournament ranking with one gold, one silver and three bronze medals. The Philippines and Singapore both ranked eighth.

Vietnam has only claimed a bronze medal in the women's triple jump by Nguyen Thi Huong, and ranked 14th alongside Kuwait and Mongolia.

go to top